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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)

TITLE: No Last Quarter Blues
By Julie Paulsen
07/23/08


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O You, who hear prayer, to You all men will come. Psalm 65:2 (NIV)

“Operator, I’d like to make a long distance call to 217-555-9339.”

Sunday nights topped off my weekend, even though a new week had arrived. In a few hours the annoying alarm clock would rouse me to the start of yet another week of freshman classes, but that could wait…I had a phone date with AJ.

Beep, beep, beep, beep…“Please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

I hated being in Florida while he was in Illinois, and I hated it because it wasn’t our plan. Thanks for this unwanted change was owed directly to my mother. It had been settled; I was accepted at a college in Iowa, while AJ would be at University of Illinois. It was a perfect arrangement to us, but mom’s mind had other plans.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

“Julie,” Mom stated, “I know you won’t like this but we think Drake University is just too close to home. Even though you were accepted and ready to start this fall, Dad and I carefully thought this over and decided we want you to attend Florida College…and…I sent in your application…and…you’ve been accepted.”

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

Consciously my brain didn’t grasp the full impact of what I heard, but my spirit knew instantly and reacted deep within me. Attempting to keep from exploding I softly replied, “Mom, what do you mean exactly?” Julie, don’t over react, listen…just listen for now.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

“I, well…Dad and I aren’t sure it’s a good idea for you and AJ to be so close together the next few years…and, at Florida College you’ll have Bible classes along with regular studies.” Mom stammered as she spoke slowly, awaiting my reaction. Not surprisingly, my reaction was typical for a young lady in the position of choosing between obedience to her parents and leaving a special young man behind. I was furious.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

AJ and I hinted to our parents frequently, throughout our senior year, that we would like to be married and were continually met with resistance at the very thought. ”You would be wasting your life to be married before going to college,” was at the root of each reply.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

As a result of my obedience to my parents, they were subjected to a trail of tears from persistent sobbing on the road trip from Chicago to Tampa. Arriving with swollen red eyes, and my heart left back in Illinois, I stepped out of the car onto the campus of Florida College and my room on the third floor in A-Dorm.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

I quickly learned that one payphone serviced the whole dorm and I, as a freshman, knew my lowly ranking meant no phone hogging was allowed. However, talking for hours was practically impossible since a thirty-minute long distance call cost one whole roll of quarters. In 1969 we could buy a gallon of gasoline for $.35, but three minutes on a payphone cost $1.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

So, each week, down three flights of stairs I’d trek, praying that the phone was open and usually the wait wasn’t long. Most students were out enjoying the last bit of weekend freedom with friends. Not me, those thirty minutes each week connected me to my future, my past and AJ, the love of my life.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

Today, that man of my past and present is in Philadelphia on business. No need for a roll of quarters any longer; thanks to our cell phones. We spoke when he woke up, when he had a break in meetings, on his way to the airport and as he ate dinner while waiting for his plane. Today, there’s no sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, as there was in 1969, when I’d have to say, “This is my last quarter…”

Sort of how it is while talking with God…no last quarter blues.

“To continue this call, please deposit one dollar.”

Ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk…ker-chunk

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer. I Peter 3:8-12 (NIV)


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This article has been read 408 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 07/24/08
I love the repating lines in here, it just adds so much depth to this piece, bringing the reality of the payphone thing to life. I liked it. This is one of my favorites this week. I especially like how it seems there is a lovely, happy ending too. Wonderful writing! ^_^
Sheila Adams08/04/08
EXCELLENT PIECE. I PERSONALLY THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE WON!!! I WILL LOOK FOR MORE OF YOUR WORK!!